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Long-time Bonnyville Pontiacs supporter remembered

Sydora had served as the Jr. A hockey team's president as well as a board member, along with billeting hockey players at his home.

BONNYVILLE - A familiar face and long-time supporter of the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs will be missed following his passing at the age of 63. Don Sydora, who for the better part of 25 years has been involved with the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs organization, passed away on April 1. 

Neil Langridge, associate general manager of the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs, described Sydora as a giving, hardworking individual who served in various roles with the team, including a decade-long stint as president, and fixing IT systems. He and his wife, Kim, also billeted players at their home for 19 years, not only housing but creating second homes for many hockey players.  

“Don was a cornerstone for our organization in different capacities for over 20 years,” Langridge told Lakeland This Week. “Bonnyville has lost a great man and contributor to our community’s fabric.” 

Sydora served as president from 2004 to 2014 and in other capacities on the Bonnyville Pontiacs’ board both before and after his term.  

According to Langridge, Sydora committed thousands of hours acting as president and governor for the Pontiacs. Further, he put his passion for IT technologies to work, a big reason, he stated, why the franchise still has some of the best technology at the RJ Lalonde Arena.  

“He helped transform the organization and build it into the solid, sustainable business that it is today,” Langridge said.  

Regarding changes that were made to the Pontiacs during Sydora’s tenure, as Langridge explains, the well-known member of the local hockey community was able to navigate the organization through some tough financial times and surround the franchise with great people. 

Sydora also played a large part in bringing former head coach and general manager Chad Mercier back to Bonnyville. Together, Langridge said, they turned the franchise around both on and off the ice.  

During the 19 seasons in which Don and Kim billeted members of the Bonnyville Pontiacs squad, Langridge said, some very talented players came through their household. This includes Olympic gold medallist Shannon Szabados, Lucas Thorne, and Grayson Constable.  

Sydora, Langridge said, was a supporter of the Bonnyville community and gave back to many different organizations. 

Langridge said that the long-time member of the Pontiacs’ organization would open his home to anyone - not only for players - but staff as well.  

“He would ensure if you were part of the Pontiac family that you were part of his own family and he would treat everyone the same and with respect,” Langridge said.

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